As a participatory theatre company of Sanctuary, our aim is to be a place of welcome, help social inclusion and provide people who were forced to flee their homes a platform to express themselves and be heard as well as an opportunity to change the negative narrative often associated with refugees.
These aims defined the form of our work.
- Mixed cast involving refugee communities and local people.
- Devised work
- Physical theatre, visual poetry & clowning
"The boat journey". - Borderline -
Expression is one of the most important human needs, but yet one of the most difficult one to achieve especially when language barrier or trauma are involved. They can make words really hard to find. We developped a technique that we called Visual Poetry to help people raise awareness about the traumas they went through. It's an aesthetic approach that can convey the violence of the life journey's experience whilst still celebrating the beauty and talent of the person who was affected. This technique, involving creating visual tableaux to describe emotions, is coming from a therapeutic practice called "family constellation" that Sophie Besse, our Artistic Director, picked up from her training in family therapy. Our Visual Poetry appraoch also has some common grounds with Theatre of the Oppressed's Image Theatre except we orientate our work more towards art and theatre playing with light, metaphors, music and costumes as well. It is key for us to transform a traumatic memory in a piece of art that will also generate a sense of pride.
The Haunted house in "Welcome To The UK"'s funfair. Debby raising awareness about women trafficking organised by husbands.
Pigs queuing outside the haunted house attraction.
- Welcome To The UK -
Detention centres in the UK -Welcome To The UK -
more visual poetry from our theatre retreats in France
"How does it feel with your best friend?" A game where you are not allowed to talk and can only use the cello to answer.
Work installation as part of our "Too Much" exhibition.
Why clowning? The clown holds our vulnerability and traumas in his hands. He definitely is Tragedy's poetic little flatmate except he won't generate pity or fear but laughter, tenderness and admiration. We strongly believe in the power of laughter. Just as tears do, laughter helps release stress and pain but also creates a sense of pride and brings people together.
"I had enough sadness. I love making people laugh, it makes me feel better." Enayat. 17y. Afghanistan
The frozen refugee after crossing the channel on a refrigerated lorry. - Borderline -
A "very helpful" Mary Poppins welcomes a refugee at her home after he was made homeless at the end of his 28 days. - Welcome to the UK -